Before I knew about CrossFit, I used to conceptualize the gym I would own as being something unique, something that touched people's lives even beyond central role of improving health and fitness. Part of what fascinated me so much about being an affiliate owner in particular was how CrossFit gyms seemed to be cultural hubs for their communities. They were places where people had BBQs, held fundraisers, and hosted unique and interesting events for their members. Fast-forward to almost seven years into CFSBK’s affiliation and we can safely say that we've done our best to leverage our physical space in order to create some unique opportunities for building a community and contributing to the one around us. In today's article, I'll talk about some of the ways we've used our physical space to enhance our members’ experiences beyond our standard training services.
When Christian Fox joined Urban Total Fitness in the Bronx for $50 a year in 2002, he was 29 and it was his first time in a gym. He had never been an athlete and despite dabbling in yoga, he was pushing 200 pounds of not-healthy weight. He chain-smoked and would gorge on the farmer’s breakfast at a local diner after partying most weeknights—a typical lifestyle of those in the restaurant business. Now, in the presence of floor-to-ceiling mirrors and big, ripped dudes who were hoisting hundreds of pounds of weight off their chests, he wanted something else. He wanted to be strong. 95 pounds on a barbell seemed like all the weight in the world at that point, but his journey toward CrossFit had begun.
As mentioned in one of our most popular articles “Starting Class with Introductions,” a longstanding tradition at CFSBK has been to start classes with introductions and a short Question of the Day (QOD) while we do our movement preparation. Many of you wrote to tell us you implemented the QOD and it quickly amped up the sense of community at your affiliate by setting an inclusive, fun tone for your group classes. We loved hearing that, and in the interest of keeping your game fresh, we’ve included a list of more potential QODs for you below. Let us know how it goes and post any other ideas to the Comments section.
There are certain pieces of equipment that are essential for every affiliate—barbells, bumper plates, pull-up bars, kettlebells, etcetera. But there are other pieces CFSBK has found extremely useful, though they weren’t as obvious and probably wouldn’t make the top of most affiliates’ shopping lists. Some are ancillary while others are basic, but even the basic pieces are absent from many gyms. Below, I’ll discuss the benefits of each and address why I think they serve significant value for us—and hopefully convince you to make the investments if you haven’t already.
CFSBK has always offered a free introductory class every week, open to the public. This class occurs after our normal classes have ended on Sundays at 2:15pm and is a great way to introduce interested people to both CrossFit and the general culture of our gym, before they sign up for Foundations. From what I can tell, it seems that most affiliates offer a class like this, so you probably agree that it’s a critical space to create given the kinds of gyms we run and the buy-in for most Foundations programs (usually a significant monetary and time investment). Particular affiliates and CrossFit in general won’t be right for everyone, so it’s important to let people test the proverbial waters to assess whether your gym is a good fit. While many of our participants in Foundations take the plunge without attending our “Teaser” class, it’s still a service to the CrossFit-Curious who may one day become integral members of our communities.